• Grilled sardines. (Kaily Koutsogiannis)Source: Kaily Koutsogiannis

“Plump sardines simply grilled – one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever master. The sardines are sold frozen in Australia and are found in Portuguese and Spanish emporiums. When they’re cooked, their skins slide off like a wetsuit – it’s a party trick I never get tired of. Served with roasted capsicums and red wine, these are the true taste of Portugal.” Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Fire






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (42 votes)


  • 3 green capsicums (bell peppers)
  • 2 red capsicums (bell peppers)
  • olive oil
  • vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly crushed
  • sea salt
  • 12 whole Portuguese sardines
  • rock salt
  • broa or crusty bread to serve
  • boiled potatoes to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Standing time 30 minutes

Place the capsicums over a pre-heated charcoal barbecue and char until blackened. Alternatively put under a hot grill or in a hot oven. When done, place them in a plastic bag and tie to close until slightly cooled. Peel the capsicums and tear by hand into strips. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar and the garlic, and season with sea salt.

For the sardines, sprinkle liberally with rock salt and set aside for no more than 30 minutes.

Shake a little of the salt off the sardines before placing on the hot charcoal grill.

Grill for 3–4 minutes on each side.

To serve, pull off the skin of the sardines from the head down – it should come off easily. Place the whole fish on slices of crusty bread – or flake roughly. Serve with boiled potatoes drizzled with olive oil and the roasted peppers.


Recipe from Food Safari Fire by Maeve O'Meara (Hardie Grant, hbk, $55).  Photography by Kaily Koutsogiannis.


Food Safari Fire starts Thursday 7 January 2016 at 8pm on SBS. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.